Spacebuster by Raumlabor



Berlin-based architecture practice Raumlabor presented a mobile, inflatable pavilion called Spacebuster in New York last month.


The pavilion was exhibited in collaboration with Storefront for Art and Architecture and travelled to several locations across New York City over ten consecutive days. Above photo by Alan R Tansey.


The pavailion can hold up to 80 people once inflated.


Spacebuster played host to a variety of community events, discussions, parties and gatherings across the city last month.


Photos are by Christoph Franz/ raumlaborberlin unless stated otherwise. Above photo by Alan R Tansey.

Here's further information on the Spacebuster from Raumlabor:


Spacebuster is a mobile inflatable structure that serves as an entirely portable, expandable pavilion. A new iteration of a past Raumlabor project, the Küchenmonument (presented in Europe in 2006-8), Storefront will bring Spacebuster to the US for the first time this April, when it will travel throughout New York for 10 consecutive evenings hosting various community events.


The pavilion is comprised of an inflatable bubble-like dome that emerges from its self-contained compressor housing. The dome expands and organically adjusts to its surroundings, be it in a field, a wooded park, or below a highway overpass. The material is a sturdy, specially-designed translucent plastic, allowing the varying events taking place inside of the shelter – screenings, lecture series, dinners or discussions – to be entirely visible from the outside and likewise the exterior environments become the events’ backdrops. Above photo by Alan R Tansey.


The bubble can be used for a variety of social and cultural purposes. In past installations, the dome became an eat-in kitchen – equipped with a cooking station surrounded by tables and chairs. The bubble allowed cooking, a highly personal and private aspect of domestic life, to enter the urban space of a tree lined median, and simultaneously invigorated this urban park with a communal action. On another occasion the dome was transformed into a ballroom within an overgrown green space no longer open to the public. A live band, dance classes, and performances all worked to bring a cultural event to a neglected zone. Above photo by Alan R Tansey.


Each of these ten evenings will be organized in conjunction with a community group, non-profit organizations, university, or arts organization. Events will include artist talks, film screenings, communal dinners and many other events. Above photo by Alan R Tansey.



Raumlabor is a group of architects and urban designers based in Berlin, Germany. Raumlabor began working on the issues of contemporary architecture and urbanism in 1999. Working in various interdisciplinary teams they investigate strategies for urban renewal. Raumlabor’s work deals with urban design and planning, architectural design, landscape, building interactive environments, research and design of public space and art installations. Their public art installations have been shown in Vienna, Austria, numerous cities in Germany, as well as numerous biennials and exhibition spaces throughout Europe. Above photo by Alan R Tansey.


Images below show the Spacebuster on tour in Europe 2006-2008.


The Kitchen Monument/ raumlaborberlin with plastique fantastique

The kitchen monument is a prototype with which to construct temporary communities. It investigates emotional anchoring spots within cities, in public places; the spheres of interaction between city dwellers and city users.


The Kitchen Monument is a mobile sculpture, which consists of two elements:

1. The Box: encased in anodised sheet steel. Its inner space is lined with grey felt. It contains a wardrobe, a reception, and storage space. The box houses a pneumatic structure and the technology needed to inflate it. It also functions as the entrance to the bubble.

Approximate dimensions: length = 3 metres, width = 2 metres, height = 3.1 metres


2. The Bubble: a pneumatic spatial shell that expands out of the box. The bubble is made of translucent, reinforced PE laminate.

Approximate dimensions: length = 20 metres, width = 12 metres, height = 6 metres


A ramp made of steel grating creates the bridge between the box and the bubble.


A fan located under the grating inflates the bubble and continually provides it with air. The box simultaneously functions as a pressure gage and relief vent.


The Kitchen Monument has been travelling to different locations since April 26, 2006. It stops at places of underestimated potential, so-called non-spaces or un-spaces; spaces that seem to have forfeited their urban functions.


The bubble nestles itself into whatever is already there, its transparency allowing dialogue to occur between inside and outside; everything blurs together, but remains visible nonetheless. It creates new room within existing space, allowing novel qualities to emerge.


The Trojan horse is the metaphor we have taken in using the monument to create urban identity. This mobile sculpture transports identity into the public sphere, enabling people to actively co-create it.


The monument is a tool for recapturing public space. But how can a monument generate social space? How can it inspire public space to be used and personalised? And how can it come to reflect the communities and identities of various neighbourhoods?


We put a communal kitchen into the bubble because the kitchen is the type of place that has the potential to reflect urban identities as well as cultural peculiarities and traditions. People sit together, yet apart, in the kitchen.


If someone is invited to come for a visit, a common meal represents the host's openness and hospitality. The kitchen is the ideal place in which to connect privacy and publicity.


Posted on Thursday May 7th 2009 at 4:43 pm by Brad Turner. Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Fantastic realization of an Archigram-esque pop-up event space… love the way it conforms to its surroundings.

  • modular

    haha. wicked stuff. yet, it looks like a giant condom. fill up with air, of course.

    yes, today is my lazy thinking day.

  • baldo

    it looks like 60’s works by italy-based radical designers de pas, d’urbino, lomazzi. nothing too new. only something forgotten. go and see about inflatables at the pompidou centre in paris. there are also other art pieces just very similar and perhaps more interesting by an artist i don’t remember his name.

    any way i like it

  • Somo

    Do you think if I made a wedding dress from a parachute these guys could make it into the marquee for the after party??

  • keti

    … too beautiful of a bubble! and my human sinful nature couldn’t resist to the temptation of walking to it and piercing it through -with a needle!!!! …to see what happens … please don’t yell at me :)

    now all jokes apart- architecture = a human made space made for protecting humans from bad weather, rain, cold, wind…. and other humans…

    in case of great weather why would you get in the balloon?
    -there is nothing better than having events – outdoors when the weather is great,
    … so the balloon must be a great idea for -bad weather cases…

    —and all this monologue was for asking…. how well does this bubble resist to rain?, cold?, wind?… and off course some humans …with ..needles? :)))

    jokes apart again! — i would Love to sit in it in summer, leaving all the moskitoes outside hoplessly bouncing against the balloon :)

  • slater

    fantastish, ser gute!

  • making of

    the name is program…must love the smell of plastic….must be a hardcore fan too to enjoy. yeah, tutuu good temorary antismoker antineedle tent. ai laik

  • keti

    hmmmm – anti-smoker? … i would’ve filled it with smokers instead… once and for ever, so they would’ve enjoyed smoking Totally… without disturbing the surrounding environment :D

  • best thing i have seen in awhile!

  • very nice potentialities with the form – – it really captures negative space well when inflated between objects, like the tree and light pole

  • gatto

    In my opinion, Plastique Fantastique does better job than Raumlabor.

  • deuterio

    The inflatable bubble in these photos is in fact a project by Plastique Fantastique, not Raumlabor. They worked together every now and then, but the plastic structure has always been by Plastique Fantastique. Raumlabor did the interiors.